A strange and self-indulgent little essay by Roy H. Williams,
appearing here by permission of Indiana Beagle,
Supreme Master and Undisputed Ruler of the Rabbit Hole.
There are certain things that are important to you that seem very unimportant to the rest of us.
Do you know what they are?
More importantly, do you know why these little things are so important to you? I ask only because I believe you’ll find it to be an interesting self-examination. When you figure out why you have each of your pet peeves, you’ll know yourself a little better.
One of the things that irritates me far more than it should is any painting labeled “Adoration of the Wise Men,” or “Adoration of the Magi,” when it’s obviously “The Arrival of the Shepherds.”
You’d be surprised how often this occurs.
Seriously, how hard is to tell a tall shepherd’s crook from little containers of gold, frankincense and myrrh? People who can’t tell shepherds from wise men really piss me off.
I’m aware that my feelings are disproportionate to the offense but I can’t help it. So I ask myself, “Why?”
My hope is to teach you to do the same.
The reason was obvious when I gave it some thought: I strongly identify with the wise men who followed that star. They were a merry band of explorers who happily pursued a theory through the night. Wizard Academy takes its name from these ancient adventurers. (“Wizard” was originally “wise-ard.”)
Shepherds are important, too, but they’re the opposites of the wise men. Shepherds are icons of my greatest deficiency. Shepherds are nurturing, maternal figures who give themselves to the care of helpless, foolish sheep, making sure those bleating little whiners have everything they need.
Obviously, I’m awkward and uncomfortable in the role of comfort-giver. I’m bad at it, even when I’m doing my best. It’s embarrassing.
The cognoscenti of Magical Worlds will recall that Dr. Richard D. Grant teaches that each of us is sensitive to criticism in areas of our performance where we know ourselves to be lacking. To put it into the vernacular of Myers-Briggs, the shepherds are icons of the Feeling F-types and the wise men are icons of the Thinking T-types.
I admire F-types and I love to be around them. “Feeling” people make the world a better place.
F-types respond instinctively with their hearts, T-types with their heads. As a T-type, it angers me that I cannot “fix it” when a person is in pain and it feels cheap and hollow to mouth empty words. Yes, I know this is ridiculous, but it’s the curse of every Introverted Intuitive Thinker.
I was really excited when I read that this Renoir, “Adoration of the Magi,” was going to be sold, particularly because it’s likely to sell for an affordable price. (At 3 and 1/2 inches by 8 inches, it’s a very small painting. Additionally, it’s a nighttime scene and Renoir is famous for his daytime colors.)
It’s an unimportant little Renoir, but it’s an authentic Renoir, nonetheless.
It would be cool to own an original Renoir.
But then I saw the shepherd’s crooks.